First Published in DelawareLiberal on 7/13/2014 by ProgressivePopulist
The Hobby Lobby case gave us yet another reminder that corporations
are pushing for full recognition as people; in this case a person with a
particular religious belief. The Supremes seem totally hell bent on
actualizing this fiction which historically started with a very mistaken
decision based on an event decades ago in a area where I went to
college, Santa Clara, California.
So mistaken, some describe the
legend that the court clerk actually misconstrued or misrepresented the
finding in Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific R.R. in writing the judges
In typical U.S.A. fashion, rather than correcting the
mistake, as a nation we just keep doing it over and over. And given
that the current Supremes, at least the felonious five, are a wholly
owned subsidiary of corporate America, the fallacy just keeps getting
So, let's compare the personhood of natural born people and corporate people clones.
Natural people get caught cheating on them or not paying and pay fines,
get their incomes garnished or sometimes go to the pen. Only 1 in 4
corporate people pay any taxes at all, some avoiding by relocating their
small headquarters to less taxing foreign countries. They also get
huge breaks from municipal/local taxes, especially if they relocated
from elsewhere that natural person property owners never get.
natural people get caught, such as cheating in school, they are
expelled. Or, if they cheat family members or others, they are often
prosecuted by local law enforcement and courts and sent to jail.
Corporate people usually don't get caught and go on cheating like
overcharging or not honoring things like refunds or rebates and go on
forever until real people wise up and start using another company. If
they are caught, like bankers, they are fined maybe but can often go
back to the same old cheating ways.
people harming neighbors, like throwing garbage in their gutter or
flooding the neighborhood with the garden hose, can be sued, stopped by
health authorities or given restraining orders. Corporate people go on
for years polluting neighbors with toxins and it requires a monumental,
expensive legal effort to stop or restrain them. Often they are excused
because they "give people jobs".
Abuse Family Members-Real
people, if caught, can be tried, convicted and jailed for child or
parental abuse. Corporate people rarely are caught, again because they
"give people jobs" and therefore, any abuse of them is overlooked.
Abuse like underpaying, overworking, harassing and exploiting. The
abused generally just quit and go elsewhere. If they can find a job.
And of course, they can never tell their new employer about the abuse
because if they do, they won't be hired.
people who neglect children or parents can be charged with crimes of
neglect and pay with jail terms or loss of guardianship/custody.
Corporate people can go on for whole careers neglecting employees with
no training, or ignoring their good performance, failure to reward with
raises or cut their benefits until the neglected employee just leaves
and is replaced by another person willing to endure such treatment until
giving up in disgust.
people can be charged with things like reckless endangerment, convicted
and imprisoned or lose custody; or can be sued by those endangered.
Corporate people, rarely caught endangering with dangerous products,
work places or facilities, might be caused to pay a small fine or
forced to fix the broken/defective thing causing the endangerment. In
the U.S.A., there is hardly any enforcement of such safety violations
and it takes huge, expensive lawsuits to correct and compensate.
people are losing power as citizens with respect to their voting rights
and many have just given up participating in that realm. Corporate
people are as enthusiastic about electoral citizenship as are new
immigrant real people citizens. Corporations dominate elections with
cash and legislation with cash and lobbyists at a scale far exceeding
real people. They even build and own the machines we use to vote.
people can be sued by other real people or corporate people, forced to
hire expensive lawyers and go to court to defend themselves against
civil complaints. Real people who work for corporations who actually
commit acts harming or damaging others are shielded from personal
liability and the corporation for whom they work, if they lose the case,
the corporation pays the legal costs for them; and because they were
doing the corporation policy, rarely lose their employment or salary and
Influential Corporate Lawyers-Real
people generally don't have large, well connected law firms at their
disposal when in need of representation. They generally resort to the
storefront lawyer or if they can't afford that, court appointed lawyers
without country club memberships. Corporate people have access to so
called corporate lawyers, often in the largest, oldest and most
connected (with judges) firms with multiple names and partners. This is
a whole class of law and lawyers who populate the prestige social clubs
in town. Not so much for ordinary real people consumers. So you can
pretty well guess how these cases turn out.
So, the moral
of this story is that corporations are not only people, they are highly
privileged persons with far more rights, protections, exemptions and
personal discretion than natural people. That's why they are permitted
much more influence with our government than natural people as we have
seen recently both with our courts and legislative bodies.
used to it. No change in sight anytime soon. Remember the push back in
the 70's and 80's for good "Corporate Citizenship" ? Maybe it is time
to revive that concept with our regulatory bodies, given that then
corporations were avoiding being judged for good citizenship. Now they
are fully embracing the concept of citizenship, be it good or bad. They
claim their only responsibility as people and citizens is to make money
for the bottom line. Nothing else.
Looks like the question is pretty thoroughly answered. Corporations surely are persons; very powerful citizens. Overpowering.
Any other examples out there of corporate persons vs. natural persons? I'd love to see them.